Tigers topple Bears: Grand Junction uses easy buckets to defeat Bear Creek

Casey Burns of Grand Junction goes hard to the hoop through Armoni Brewington, left,  and Curtis Morris of Bear Creek



Layups tend to be high-percentage shots in basketball. A delicate roll off the fingers can result in a quick two points.

On Friday in the Warrior Challenge, when the Grand Junction High School boys basketball team was struggling to hit shots in a 62-37 win against Bear Creek, the Tigers simply went to the layup.

“Coming into the game, I told these guys they were going to get a lot of early looks and they were going to have to pass up some early looks,“said Grand Junction coach Dutch Johnson said.

“To start the game we didn’t (pass up those shots). If the guys had a look, they were shooting the ball. so we stressed attacking the basket.”

The Tigers finished the first quarter down 15-12, largely because of the missed jumpers and defensive pressure by the Bears.

Grand Junction adjusted to the defense and improved its post play, scoring 20 points in the second quarter. The Tigers’ defense allowed only 22 points over the final three quarters.

“We just had to give it to our big man (Jesse Smith) and take over down low, just attack the paint,” Grand Junction guard Tommy Powers said.

Smith, a sophomore, used his 6-foot-6 frame to take control in the paint, scoring 20 points. Eight of his points came in the second quarter.

“Jesse was big tonight and we needed that post presence,” Johnson said. “When Jesse plays like that and gives us a post presence, we’re much harder to guard.”

Powers scored 13 points, 11 in the first half.

The majority of the Bears’ offense came from senior Jaron Price, who scored 27 points, including going 10 for 12 from the free-throw line.

Central 63, Douglas County 54: The Warriors used solid early 3-point shooting to earn their first win of the season.

Spencer Hicks led the way, hitting two 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Warriors take a 14-3 lead.

“We were able to get some shots to drop early,” said Hicks, who finished with 10 points. “We got that early lead and were able to hang onto it throughout the game.”

Although the Huskies cut into the Central lead at times, the Warriors never trailed in the game.

“Our main focus was to come out with more energy,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “I thought our defensive press worked early and we have to continue to work on closing games.”

Central was led by Vandon Sanchez, who finished with 14 points. Josh Wells had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Zach Padilla finished with 12 points.

Central hit six 3-pointers on the night.

The Warriors were the designated road team in the game, but did earn the first win on their home court.

“It felt really good to win at home,” Hicks said. “Hopefully we can get another tomorrow.”


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